The Detroit Lions got off the mat for a dominating 34-16 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and in the aftermath of that, the team could be creeping back toward contention for the playoffs moving forward in the future.
Following the big win, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated tweeted that the Lions could soon find themselves back in the hunt for another wild card birth in 2020. Even at 2-3, the Lions do have an outside chance of getting back in the playoff picture and as Breer points out, the turnaround could come quickly thanks to the league’s new change in rules.
Lions up 31-10 now, and believe it or not there's a pretty realistic scenario where they could finish the weekend a half-game out of the NFC's last playoff spot.
It's bc of the new format, but still …
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 18, 2020
The Lions started a dreadful 1-3 and could easily be 4-1 right now and in much better position. They held leads in every single loss they’ve sustained thus far this season, and while many will argue the Lions were a bit unlucky in the early stages, they’ve also had their fair share of coaching problems and otherwise perhaps leading to some of the trouble on the field.
If the Lions can find a way to grab some momentum, there’s no question they could become a team to watch in the second half. Their schedule will provide them a substantial advantage, and while the team has been subpar, they are still talented enough to make a major run moving forward if they get hot.
How New NFL Playoff Rules Could Benefit Lions
This offseason, the NFL expanded the postseason to include 14 total teams which is up from 12. That expansion means that there will be one more wild card making the playoffs from the AFC and NFC. For years, Detroit’s been in the mix at 9-7 and 8-8, but most years have not been able to break through and get into the playoffs. This time, that might not be the case whatsoever given the expansion.
After a 1-3 start, the Lions will have to have a furious comeback in order to get in the mix for the postseason, but they might be in better position to do so this season than ever before thanks to the NFL.
Lions Upcoming Schedule
One reason the Lions could be working themselves into the playoff picture? The team’s schedule lightens up in a major way. After the defeat of the Jaguars, the Lions play the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Football Team, Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. Out of that group, just the Colts have a winning record, so it’s possible a major run could be coming for the Lions to get themselves back in the mix. The team’s second half schedule strength was amongst one of the lowest in the entire NFL, which means the chance exists for a big time run.
Will the new rules help benefit the Lions as early as 2020? There’s a long way before that plays out, but several folks see the team already perhaps able to make a run thanks to the rule change and the team’s standing coming up with their schedule.
It will be interesting to see if the Lions can get this done.